Construction on Medan’s Kualanamu International Airport is expected to be completed this year with commercial operations starting in early 2013, a government official said on Tuesday.
Herry Bakti Singayuda Gumay, director general of air transportation at the Transportation Ministry, said the government had provided Rp 540 billion ($60 billion) to assist in building the airport, which is 80 percent completed.
The project is estimated to cost Rp 3 trillion in total.
Located outside of the North Sumatra capital, Kualanamu is one of many infrastructure projects the government has been promoted in its quest spur economic growth and create jobs.
Kualanamu covers 1,376 hectares of land and is expected to replace the existing Polonia International Airport.
Although Polonia was designed to handle 900,000 travelers annually, it serviced 5 million last year, Transportation Ministry official Darpin Sinaga said last year.
Kualanamu is forecast to have an annual capacity of 8 million, which would make it the second largest airport in the country, behind Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
Herry said his office was discussing with other ministries connecting roads and other facilities.
One of those, he said, was a toll road to connect Medan and the airport, which is located 40 kilometers northeast of the city.
Problems with land availability have hampered the government as it makes an aggressive push to develop infrastructure.
In December 2011 lawmakers passed the land acquisition act, which makes it easier for the government to appropriate privately owned land for projects it says will benefit the public.
Kualanamu will be supervised by state airport operator Angkasa Pura I.
Planning for the airport began in 1997 but was put on hold after the Asian financial crisis a year later.
The project was accelerated after a plane crash in Medan in 2005 that killed North Sumatra Governor Tengku Rizal Nurdin.